At some point in 1984 the word came out that Paul was going to release a new full length movie in the fall, called “Give My Regards To Broad Street.” As a super fan I was excited. Now could I not be….
It is a take off of the old show tune, “Give My Regards To Broadway.”
One of the main plot points takes place at the actual London railway station, Broad Street (which closed in 1986….maybe because of the movie?)
Paul came up with the idea, and chose to write the screen play. It was produced by Andros Epaminodas. Andros resume included assistant to the producer and actor on 1971’s “A Clockwork Orange,” as well as assistant to the producer on Barry Lyndon (1975) and The Shining (1980) and producer of Stealing Heaven (1988).
The director job went to Peter Webb, whose credits prior to this film were 14 episodes of the British television shows, Whose Baby? (1973), 2 episodes of Shadows (1975), 2 episodes of The Tomorrow People (1978). His only film credit was the 1979 short, Butch Minds The Baby. Not exactly Marty Scorsese…. And after Broad Street…nothing. Yikes…
Paul gathered the crew and from very late 1982 thru most of 1983 they filmed and put the film together and planned on this late 1984 release.
I was still married, living in Las Vegas and the local rock station had a contest and gave away tickets for a special screening the day before release. I won two tickets (which I have in my collection) and took my wife to the theater, all excited. Also winning was my friend and co-worker, Koko, and her then husband, and we sat behind each other.
Paul had also finished the short animated film Rupert And The Frog Song and it was shown before hand (it was around 15 minutes). And it was fantastic, colorful and filled with childlike warmth and whimsy. It was a tasty appetizer for the main event. The film started….
Okay, here are the good things. It’s 90 minutes of Paul, playing music, on film, in many interesting locations and scenes with Linda, Ringo etc.. and this alone is a reason to watch. He has scenes where he re-imagines Beatles songs…. And gives us a few new songs.
The single, released before the movies release, “No More Lonely Nights” was out and moving up the charts. The only problem…. was the plot….
Paul being driven to a destination but is stuck in traffic and begins jotting down notes on a pad…. We get into his head. He has an album due to his record company. The tapes go missing. The evil businessman gives them 24 hrs to find them or he will own the label.
So in the 24 hrs of Paul’s life he records (George Martin and Geoff Emerick appear), he films a television segment (“Ballroom Dancing” come to rollicking life), he practices with a band and has a couple of fantasy segments as he is in deep thought (“Silly Loves Songs” becomes some sort of futuristic break dancing madness and “Eleanor Rigby” becomes some Sherlock Holmes era picnic turned into chase and escape).
He also drives around looking and thinking. There are sub plots involving Ringo and a reporter (his wife Barbara) and Tracey Ullman and her angry boyfriend, Sir Ralph Richardson as an old and wise confidant helping him find the glowing blue box of tapes. Finally, as Paul sees the Broad Street station on his drive, he remembers the roadie (to whom the tapes disappeared with and is presumed to be the guilty one based on his past) had left via this station.
He finds the tapes (the roadie accidentally got locked in a bathroom those 24 hrs) and gets them delivered with seconds to spare…. Only to have Paul arrive at his destination in the car, waking up from the nap he had while in traffic…. It was all a dream!
At various points I would turn and look back and stare in horror at Koko, whose look back to me was the same…. What the…..?
We left the theater, confused, disappointed but like I said. It was a Beatle on the big screen for 90 minutes. And the music ranged from not bad to good to very very good.
Paul fully embraced his Beatles past (not a bad selling point) by re-recording “Good Day Sunshine,” “Yesterday,” “Here There And Everywhere,” “For No One,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “The Long And Winding Road.” He also re-records solo era songs “Wanderlust,” “Ballroom Dancing” and “Silly Love Songs.”
He has three new songs, with “Lonely Nights” as well as “Not Such A Bad Boy” and “No Values.”
Funny trivia about the movie. Ringo refused to be part of any re-recording of classic Beatles tracks, so while Paul sings them in the recording studio Ringo comically fakes looking for his drum sticks and finds them just when Paul starts on a non-Beatles song….The film premiered for the public the next day to horrifying reviews, and was out of the theaters in ONE WEEK….A major disaster at the time.
I can watch it, warts and all, as a time in my life and for all of the music and visual excitement. So since the Wings over America and world tour of 1976, he’s had bad reviews for LONDON TOWN, BACK TO THE EGG, McCARTNEY II, PIPES OF PEACE and now the film Broad Street. Except for TUG OF WAR and FROG Song animated short, it has been a tough 8 year stretch.
And also the drug bust of 1980, two more drug busts in early 1983, the death of John Lennon…..
Also, some video game manufacturer developed the film as a game. Would love to see footage of this 1985 product in action.
The album of the soundtrack sold very well, as did the single, “Lonely Nights” and we will review it..
Next, reviewing the soundtrack to “Give My Regards To Broad Street,” and 1985 and what followed…..